Torrijas with ice-cream

Local cuisine – Easter sweets and recipes


Easter in Spain is full of deep-rooted traditions, and is experienced with great intensity, both in the street and (sweet-tooth alert) in the cake shops. Patisserie windows all over Spain display torrijas, monas de pascua, bartolillos, pestiños, buñuelos… and many other local specialities in March and April. Keep reading to find out what they’re like and which are the most traditional. PS: Sweets are not the only Easter treat. We also suggest some of the soups and stews that are most typical of this fiesta.

TORRIJAS – The perfect snack for an afternoon watching Easter processions

Easter is all about tradition, and its most famous dessert is too. Many experts think it originates in convents, where it was traditional for the nuns to make sweets, and was invented to use up stale bread, which was soaked in milk and honey to soften and flavour it. The ingredients and shape of torrijas are similar to other pastries, but there is one thing that makes them different and very Spanish - they are fried in olive oil. After that, they are dusted with sugar, or syrup, honey or wine is drizzled over them, depending on preference. They are the most traditional sweet around Easter, but everyone loves these soft and succulent treats, so they turn up all year round for breakfast, afternoon snacks, or even as dessert. So we recommend trying one of our Easter traditions: go out to see the processions, and take a break for a delicious torrija.


MONA DE PASCUA – The Holy Monday cake

This is an iconic Easter sweet almost everywhere along Spain’s Mediterranean coast. Two variants are especially popular. On one hand, the most traditional in the Regions of Valencia and Murcia, a sweet brioche cake topped with boiled eggs. On the other, the most famous in Catalonia, a cake decorated with chocolate eggs or amusing figures. Many cake shop windows practically become museums of chocolate at this time of year, showing off all sorts of wacky creations. You can find the mona at any time over the Easter period, mainly in the Balearic Islands, Catalonia, Region of Valencia and Region of Murcia. But it’s traditional to eat it on Easter Monday. It represents the end of Lent, a period of abstinence, and is often a family treat, because the custom is for children to be given them by their grandparents or godparents.

Mona de Pascua


It's not all torrijas and monas de pascua; there is a huge variety of Easter sweets and cakes. Most of them are bite-sized treats, variants on fried pastry with honey (for example, pestiños, very popular in Andalusia), or with sugar (such as buñuelos) or with a cream filling (e.g., bartolillos, a speciality of Madrid). You can also find crisp, delicate fried pastries shaped like flowers, decorated with sugar and chocolate, all over the country, although they are most traditional in Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León, Extremadura, and Galicia, and roscos de Semana Santa, fried rings of dough flavoured with anise (a classic snack while watching the processions in Andalusia). In northern Spain many people enjoy leche frita for dessert this time of year.

Leche frita

SOUPS AND STEWS – Traditional recipes to enjoy at Easter

Easter is a religious festival, and Catholics traditionally abstain from eating meat for the week, or for Lent. Therefore, many restaurants and households fall back on these traditional meatless recipes. Two of the most popular are potaje de vigilia and sopa castellana. Potaje de vigilia is a stew of chickpeas or other pulses with spinach, hard-boiled egg and salt cod. Sopa castellana, or garlic soup, is most common in northern Spain, and in many places in Castilla y León it’s traditional to have it in the small hours on Good Friday.

Sopa castellana
Find out more about...